The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
SAM HOUSTON AND WILLIAMSON SIMPSON OLDHAM
CONTRIBUTED BY E. W. WINKLER
In the gubernatorial campaign of 1857, Hardin R. Runnels, the
nominee of the Democratic party, was opposed by Sam Houston,
who ran as an independent. Williamson S. Oldham, one of the
proprietors of the Texas State Gazette, the principal Democratic
paper in the State, joined actively in the campaign that resulted
in the election of Runnels. On several occasions he met Houston
in joint debate; the discussions were not particularly con-
ducive to friendship, however much they increased the respect of
the participants for one another's ability. During the early days
of the Secession Convention, Houston became reconciled to Old-
ham,' and their mutual respect ripened into friendship as is at-
tested by the letters printed below. The originals of these letters
are in possession of W. S. Oldham, of Austin, Texas, son of
Williamson S. Oldham; they were copied by the undersigned.
Excepting one sentence, the letters are in the handwriting of an
amanuensis, but are signed by Sam Houston.
In a volume, entitled Five Years in Texas, by Thomas North,
the writer describes a review of Colonel Moore's regiment by Gen-
eral Houston as witnessed by himself.2 This anecdote is repeated
by General Houston's latest biographer.8 Who originated it is
doubtful; it is attributed to Tom Ochiltree. North's claims as an
eyewitness appear to be an unwarranted assumption.
During the first year of the war Colonel Moore had organized
a splendid regiment of eleven hundred young men, volunteers
mostly from Galveston,4 finely equipped, of which Sam Houston,
Jr., was a member. . . . It was as fine a regiment as went
to the war from any section of the country. The Colonel was
justly proud of them, and fond of exhibiting their superior drill
and "dress" to the public, and particularly to old military men.
. . . Before leaving the island for the seat of war the Colonel
invited General Houston to review his regiment. Now Judge
'"Hon. Williamson S. Oldham," by E. Fontaine, in De Bowo's Review,
2Five Years in Texas; or What You Did Not Hear During the War,
. pp. 95-98.
3Williams, Sam Houston and the War of Independence in Texas, 367-70.
4Company F only was raised in Galveston County.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/. Accessed March 14, 2014.